Passport Regulations



Due to Mexico’s and the increased security at the border crossings, new Federal regulations now require that U.S. and Canadian visitors must present their passport when entering Mexico by land, sea or air.  

1.  Cruise passengers debarking at Ensenada. 
2.  If you are a cruise ship passenger.  
3.  Visitors to border regions planning to remain in Mexico less than 72 hours.
 (not 72 hours and 5 minutes – 72 hours…period.) 

Border area is defined – usually – as 20 kilometers, 12 ½ miles from the border. 

Authorities are

claiming that

the area

extends as far

as Ensenada –

but, my

husband, Dick

and I would never attempt to

travel that far into Mexico

without our U.S. passport

… just in case.  

Entering Mexico from the United States

If you are traveling beyond that point (what is considered the border area) or are remaining for more than 72 hours, you are required to present a passport and obtain a tourist card, or FM-T, which are available at the border and at Mexican consulates. 

My husband, Dick, and I have always carried our passports, because of the U.S. regulation of presenting it when re-entering the U.S. Up until now, entering Mexico was just as simple as just walking, or driving in.  And to me, this new regulation doesn’t make much difference than before – so just be aware. So what do you think about the new passport regulations? Let me know.  I want to hear from you.Passport Info article by Barbie. Addition Feb 3, 2013 – the amount you need to move to Mexico has changed – see –

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7 Responses to Passport Regulations

  1. forex robot

    March 30, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    nice post. thanks.

  2. forex robot

    April 4, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article

  3. Carol

    July 6, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Hi Barbie,
    I love reading your articles… informative and exciting!! You mentioned passports…I have a passport ID Card….I use on when going across from Texas to Mexico on mission trips with my church and have had no problems…will that work debarking from ships, as well? Just curious…hope to see you someday down south, as I would love to retire in Mexico. I”m 55, divorced, and a working business owner,,,, but maybe someday……Blessings to you and yours!!

  4. Barbie


    July 6, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Hi Carol, I’d go back to where you got your passport, and ask them for sure. I don’t want to give you the wrong info. Thanks :) and the best to you. Barbie

  5. [email protected]

    September 13, 2010 at 8:23 am

    @Carol, Yes, your passport card will work for disembarking from a ship as well. Passport cards are good for land and sea travel, but if you’re flying you have to have a passport book.

    Hope this helps!

  6. The Real Tijuana

    November 18, 2010 at 11:22 am

    Anyone who enters Mexico by land automatically qualifies for your exception #3 as an excursionist within the franja fronteriza. Mexican immigration authorities are not asking for *any* documentation from anyone entering by land.

    Consequently, and contrary to popular belief, it is possible to visit the border cities and to return to the U.S. without a passport. More than half of the people at the San Ysidro Port of Entry, for example, do not use WHTI-compliant documention.

    As one travels deeper into Mexico, they become a tourist and ought to carry a valid FMM-Turista. The Mexican federal government announced that they want to see a valid passport before they issue an FMM, but a duty officer for the INM at the Tijuana border told us recently that the INM still accepts birth certificate and official photo ID instead.

    Ensenada is absolutely within the franja fronteriza. There is no reason at all to take out an FMM-Turista in order to visit that city.

    As one heads south of Ensenada, things get a little confused. One official definition of the franja fronteriza includes the entire peninsula of Baja California while the other official definition ends the franja at Maneadero, just past the turn-off for Punta Banda. There is a small INM checkpoint at Maneadero but, according to tour operators who pass there frequently, the checkpoint has not been manned in years.

    If you find yourself in Ensenada thinking about heading farther south and want to play it safe, you can take out an FMM-Turista at the INM office in Ensenada. That office can be found on the coast road next to the Port Captain’s office.

    The passport question has confused so many people that we recently ran a detailed FAQ about it. It has become the single most requested post in our blog.

  7. Barbie


    November 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    What is true at one entry, cannot be counted on for another entry point – take your passport – then there’s no worry. Barbie

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